Increasing trust in eCommerce in South-Eastern Europe in order to increase cross-border engagements

Services: Design Thinking

GIZ is a service provider in the field of international cooperation for sustainable development and international education work with over 50 years of experience. They work with businesses, civil society actors, and research institutions, fostering successful interaction between development policy and other policy fields and areas of activity. Their main commissioning party is the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).

They approached Solveo to help them increase the trust in eCommerce in South-Eastern Europe to increase cross-border engagements by organizing the 12th lab of tomorrow


The project lasted for 9 months and consisted of 3 main phases:

The Understand phase (Jan – April)

This phase lays the groundwork for a sustainable business model development. 

It is comprised of four sub-phases:

  • Research (desk research and stakeholder interviews)
  • Challenge Framing Workshop 
  • Challenge identification and preparation of the Insights Report
  • Acquisition of participants in venture teams

The scope of work required performing several different activities simultaneously, such as:

  • Defining the challenge and refining the challenge with the new findings
  • Conducting primary and secondary research
  • Organizing, planning, and conducting Challenge Framing Workshop
  • Performing interviews, inviting participants to the workshop
  • Mapping and interviewing potential participants in the Innovation sprint and key stakeholders for the process
  • Acquisition of participants in the venture teams



    • Kick-off workshop for a common understanding of the project and challenge
    • Stakeholder research & interviews (important information gathered)
    • Desk research
    • Overall good selection of participants for the Challenge Framing Workshop
    • Miro board and structure of the Challenge Framing Workshop
    • Good outcome and valuable information gathered at the workshop
    • Important stakeholders were mapped and informed about the process
    • High response rate and interest for the process
    • Meetings were scheduled with every potential participant & potential partner.


    The Innovate phase (May)

    In this phase, the Innovation sprint was prepared, organized, and conducted.

    The preparation of the Innovation sprint requires:

    • Creating venture teams and coordinating participants
    • Engaging Design thinking facilitators (dedicated facilitators for each team)
    • Inviting guest experts (flying experts that give feedback during the sprint)
    • Inviting Jury members for evaluation of the initial business ideas
    • Planning the sprint sessions 
    • Choosing the right Design Thinking activities and tools for achieving the goal of the sprint
    • Preparing the Miro board for collaboration (ready Miro boards for each session) as well as Slack channel for communication.


    • Outreach to 150 companies, 43 applicants from SEE and EU
    • LinkedIn outreach instead of cold emailing
    • Technical onboarding (additional session pre-Innovation sprint)
    • International, multidisciplinary (diverse) teams were formed
    • Strong teams, relevant and qualified participants
    • Representatives from EU companies were present on each team, and brought immense value
    • Miro board and structure of the workshops
    • Engaged participants
    • Positive energy during the workshops
    • Excellent judges – jury members.


    The Incubator phase (June – September)

    Three teams were selected for the Incubation phase. The teams’ sessions were scheduled biweekly. For each team, we had planned for guidance through the process, depending on the team’s needs.

    • By-weekly mentoring sessions with the teams, assigned collaborative and individual homework between the sessions (1.5-2 hours each, flexible time and date depending on the teams’ schedule and needs)
    • Tools used: Miro board, Slack, and Google Drive for communication and collaboration, Zoom for conference meetings
    • Flexible sessions, depending on the teams and their availability
    • Mentors during the Incubation phase were provided by Solveo 


    • Onboarding Q&A session for Incubation
    • The teams were ready and willing to continue to Incubation
    • Three of the teams  maintained their communication after the sprint
    • 2 out of 3 teams asked for in-kind support
    • Connecting teams with potential partners 
    • Flexible coaching sessions
    • We managed to overcome many challenges with the teams

If you’d like to learn more about our Design Thinking Service, click here.

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